To Have Normal Life, Just Like All of the Nations: Ehud Olmert’s Major League Chutzpah …

Address by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert – The Knesset: Translation 17/07/2006

Selected Excerpts;

1/ “Normal Life, like … any other Nation and any other state.”

Thanks to you, our enemies come up against a united nation, which fights together, shoulder to shoulder. We do not surrender and we do not panic. We believe in the justice of our cause, because there is no battle more just or moral than ours – a battle for the right to a peaceful and normal life, like any other human being, any other nation and any other state.

We fight for everything that everyone in the enlightened world takes for granted and never imagined that they would have to fight for – the right to a normal life.

It is a difficult battle! It may become even more difficult. It is a painful test, and we may have to bear more suffering. Such a battle is never easy. It is strewn with pain and suffering, sacrifice, and casualties.

But, we have no intention of giving up our desire to live a normal life. We will not apologize for this desire, and we do not need anyone’s approval to defend ourselves.

2/ Tefillah.

I wish to read from the “Prayer for the Welfare of Soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces”. Millions of Jews – in Israel and the world – pray for the safety and success of those who defend our nation, from the Lebanese border to the desert, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Arava, on the land, in the air and on the sea.

“May the Almighty cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them.

May the Holy One, blessed be He, preserve and rescue our fighters from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.

May He lead our enemies under our soldiers’ sway and may He grant them [the Chayalim, the IDF] salvation and crown them with victory”.

The strength of a nation is measured not only by its military capabilities. The strength of a nation is measured by its welfare and morality, its strong and solid economy, its modern and developing market, its export of technologies and products for the most advanced world markets and its ground-breaking academic research. In all these, each and every one of us has good reason to be proud.

3/ Invoking Rachel Imeinu.

I wish to conclude by reading an extract from Prophet Jeremiah:

“Thus said Hashem: a voice is heard on high, wailing, bitter weeping, Rachel weeps for her children; she refuses to be consoled for her children, for they are gone.

Thus said Hashem: restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for there is reward for your accomplishment – the word of Hashem – and they will return from the enemy’s land.

There is hope for your future – the word of Hashem;
And your children will return to their land”.

To read the entire text of Ehud Olmert’s Knesset speech, click here.


Artistically, strategically, structurally, this author must concede that Ehud Olmert’s speech to Knesset on Monday was heart-grabbing and compelling, particularly his expressions of moral and righteous indignation. However, beneathe the surface, beneathe the obvious artificiality behind what would seem to be heart-rending rhetoric, the speech belies large-scale hypocracy and a huge desecration of Hashem’s name.

The selected excerpts above have been broken into 3 catagories;

1/ “Normal Life, like … any other Nation and any other state.”
A couple of Shabbosim ago, we leyned from and learned Parsha Bilaam where Balak, the King of Moav promises great riches if only Bilaam ben Beor, the great gentile prophet of the time, would successfully find a curse, a way to compel Hashem to withdraw his protection from the Jews. But Hashem permits this meeting between Balak and Bilaam to go on, but with one caveat; that Bilaam utters only what Hashem tells him to say. And so, in Sefer Bamidbar Perek 29, posuk 3, Bilaam speaks;

“For I view it, from the mountain peaks, I gaze upon it from the hills; Behold! A people which shall dwell alone and will not be reckoned among the nations.”

Rashi on this posuk, as rendered in the Stone edition Chumash (Parsha Balak, page 865) says on “And not be reckoned among the nations”;
When the final reckoning is made to punish the nations, Israel will not be included among them (Rashi). Midrash HaGadol interprets this as a reference to Israel’s mission to remain separate and distinct from the nations. From this blessing that bilaamdelivered against his will, we see what he had hoped to achieve. (see Sanhedrin 105a): that Jews assimilate with the nations and be left with neither religion or renown.

Normal? The Jews were never meant to be normal as in; “part of” or “just like the rest of the nations.” And so when we don’t live, loving our fellow Jew as ourself in every aspect of life, interaction and national discourse, but rather demean him because he’s not like us, i.e. too religious, not religious enough, because he is religious, etc. then perhaps it is portion for portion that we now have to live under constant threat of lethal Kassams, Katyushas and more sophisticated and devastating rocket models.

2/ Tefillah; Just as one reads Olmerts words quoting “Prayer for the Welfare of Soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces”, this author wrote last year, close to the days of the expulsion; Parsha Matos 5765: Remaining “in peace” during a War of Survival;

We are the front line of Judaism. Our humiliation at rewarding terror would cast all Jews here and in Chutz L’Aretz again as “spineless”. Look for serious Anti-Semitic backlash. And Chas V’Chalila after Jew would expel Jew, expect the Arabs and the world to attack us at will and as we have probably not seen in the past 50 years. We would again be viewed by the world, as we were seen by the Nazis, as spineless, sub-human creatures. Nothing would remain sacred.

We felt betrayed when we were attacked at the Munich Olympics, on the Holy day of Yom Kippur, in the Air France plane hijacked to Entebbe. Don’t dare feel betrayed again because, for the Secular Israeli who Chas V’Chalila supports expulsion of his Jewish brothers, perhaps nothing Jewish could ever be sacred again.

3/ Olmert’s Invocation of Rachel Imeinu; How peculiar, how paradigm of hypocracy is this invocation of Rachel Imeinu at the same time that the Kever has been “Walled in From All Sides” by this same Ehud Olmert. In the process, the Olmert Regime has managed to obstruct access to properties in Kever Rachel complex, and in so doing, has obstructed outreach to young Israelis, preventing them from learning about their religious and national history of which Rachel Imeinu played such a major role.

Finally, while the Olmert speech comes across to many as very high-minded, steadfast and principled, this author directs you to press accounts of members of the Olmert cabinet; particularly particularly Foreign Minister Tzipy Livni and Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter who have indicated that there will be a deal releasing prisoners held by Israel in exchange for 3 kidnapped soldiers. In short, Ehud Olmert has said nothing and his words lack truth, feelings and credibility. MB


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